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Secretary of National Defense vs. Manalo G.R. No.

180906, October 7, 2008 FACTS:

Facts: The brothers Raymond and Reynaldo Manalo, farmers from Bulacan Brothers Raymond and Reynaldo Manalo were abducted by military men belonging to the CAFGU
who were suspected of being members of the New People’s Army, were on the suspicion that they were members and supporters of the NPA. After 18 months of detention
forcibly taken from their home, detained in various locations, and tortured by and torture, the brothers escaped on August 13, 2007.
CAFGU and military units. After several days in captivity, the brothers
Raymond and Reynaldo recognized their abductors as members of the armed Ten days after their escape, they filed a Petition for Prohibition, Injunction, and Temporary
forces led by General Jovito Palparan. They also learned that they were being Restraining Order to stop the military officers and agents from depriving them of their right to
held in place for their brother, Bestre, a suspected leader of the communist liberty and other basic rights. While the said case was pending, the Rule on the Writ of Amparo
took effect on October 24, 2007. The Manalos subsequently filed a manifestation and omnibus
insurgents. While in captivity, they met other desaperacidos (including the
motion to treat their existing petition as amparo petition.
still-missing University of the Philippines students Karen Empeno and Sherlyn
Cadapan) who were also suspected of being communist insurgents and On December 26, 2007, the Court of Appeals granted the privilege of the writ of amparo. The CA
members of the NPA. After eighteen months of restrained liberty, torture and ordered the Secretary of National Defense and the Chief of Staff of the AFP to furnish the Manalos
other dehumanizing acts, the brothers were able to escape and file a petition and the court with all official and unofficial investigation reports as to the Manalos’ custody,
for the writ of amparo. confirm the present places of official assignment of two military officials involved, and produce all
medical reports and records of the Manalo brothers while under military custody. The Secretary of
Issue: Whether or not the right to freedom from fear is or can be protected by National Defense and the Chief of Staff of the AFP appealed to the SC seeking to reverse and set
existing laws. aside the decision promulgated by the CA.

Held: Yes. The right to the security of person is not merely a textual hook in HELD:
Article III, Section 2 of the Constitution. At its core is the immunity of one’s
person against government intrusion. The right to security of person is In upholding the CA decision, the Supreme Court ruled that there is a continuing violation of the
“freedom from fear,” a guarantee of bodily and psychological integrity and Manalos right to security. xxx The Writ of Amparo is the most potent remedy available to any
security. person whose right to life, liberty, and security has been violated or is threatened with violation by
To whom may the oppressed, the little ones, the desaperacidos, run to, if an unlawful act or omission by public officials or employees and by private individuals or entities.
the Orwellian sword of the State, wielded recklessly by the military or under xxx Understandably, since their escape, the Manalos have been under concealment and protection
the guise of police power, is directed against them? The law thus gives the by private citizens because of the threat to their life, liberty, and security. The circumstances of
remedy of the writ of amparo, in addition to the rights and liberties already respondents’ abduction, detention, torture and escape reasonably support a conclusion that there is
an apparent threat that they will again be abducted, tortured, and this time, even executed. These
protected by the Bill of Rights. Amparo, literally meaning “to protect,” is borne
constitute threats to their liberty, security, and life, actionable through a petition for a writ of
out of the long history of Latin American and Philippine human rights abuses—
amparo,” the Court explained. (GR No. 180906, The Secretary of National Defense v. Manalo,
often perpetrated by the armed forces against farmers thought to be October 7, 2008)
communist insurgents, anarchists or brigands. The writ serves to both prevent
and cure extralegal killings, enforced disappearances, and threats thereof, Distinguish the production order under the Rule on the Writ of Amparo from a search warrant.
giving the powerless a powerful remedy to ensure their rights, liberties, and
dignity. Amparo, a triumph of natural law that has been embodied in positive SUGGESTED ANSWER:
law, gives voice to the preys of silent guns and prisoners behind secret walls.
The production order under the Rule on the Writ of Amparo should not be confused with a search
warrant for law enforcement under Art. III, sec. 2 of the 1987 Constitution. It said that the
production order should be likened to the production of documents or things under sec. 1, Rule 27
of the Rules of Civil Procedure which states that “upon motion of any party showing good cause
therefor, the court in which an action is pending may (a) order any party to produce and permit the
inspection and copying or photographing, by or on behalf of the moving party, of any designated
documents, papers, books of accounts, letters, photographs, objects or tangible things, not
privileged, which constitute or contain evidence material to any matter involved in the action and
which are in his possession, custody or control.” (GR No. 180906, The Secretary of National
Defense v. Manalo, October 7, 2008)
DANIEL MASANGKAY TAPUZ V HON. JUDGE ELMO DEL ROSARIO No. We find the petitions for certiorari and issuance of a writ of habeas data fatally defective, both
G.R. No. 182484 | June 17, 2007 | J. Brion in substance and in form. The petition for the issuance of the writ of amparo, on the other hand, is
fatally defective with respect to content and substance.
Based on the outlined material antecedents that led to the petition, that the petition for certiorari to
1. The private respondents spouses Sanson filed with the Aklan MCTC a complaint for forcible nullify the assailed RTC orders has been filed out of time. Based on the same material antecedents,
entry and damages with a prayer for the issuance of a writ of preliminary mandatory injunction we find too that the petitioners have been guilty of willful and deliberate misrepresentation before
against the petitioners and other John Does numbering about 120. this Court and, at the very least, of forum shopping. In sum, the petition for certiorari should be
dismissed for the cited formal deficiencies, for violation of the non-forum shopping rule, for having
2. The private respondents alleged in their complaint that: (1) they are the registered owners of the been filed out of time, and for substantive deficiencies.
disputed land; (2) they were the disputed land’s prior possessors when the petitioners – armed with
bolos and carrying suspected firearms and together with unidentified persons – entered the disputed To start off with the basics, the writ of amparo was originally conceived as a response to the
land by force and intimidation, without the private respondents’ permission and against the extraordinary rise in the number of killings and enforced disappearances, and to the perceived lack
objections of the private respondents’ security men, and built thereon a nipa and bamboo structure. of available and effective remedies to address these extraordinary concerns. It is intended to address
violations of or threats to the rights to life, liberty or security, as an extraordinary and independent
3. In their Answer, the petitioners denied the material allegations and essentially claimed that: (1) remedy beyond those available under the prevailing Rules, or as a remedy supplemental to these
they are the actual and prior possessors of the disputed land; (2) on the contrary, the private Rules. What it is not, is a writ to protect concerns that are purely property or commercial. Neither is
respondents are the intruders; and (3) the private respondents’ certificate of title to the disputed it a writ that we shall issue on amorphous and uncertain grounds. Consequently, the Rule on the
property is spurious. They asked for the dismissal of the complaint and interposed a counterclaim Writ of Amparo – in line with the extraordinary character of the writ and the reasonable certainty
for damages. that its issuance demands – requires that every petition for the issuance of the Writ must be
supported by justifying allegations of fact.
4. The MCTC, after due proceedings, rendered a decision in the private respondents’ favor, finding
prior possession through the construction of perimeter fence in 1993. On the whole, what is clear from these statements – both sworn and unsworn – is the overriding
involvement of property issues as the petition traces its roots to questions of physical possession of
5. The petitioners appealed the MCTC decision to RTC. the property disputed by the private parties. If at all, issues relating to the right to life or to liberty
can hardly be discerned except to the extent that the occurrence of past violence has been alleged.
6. On appeal, Judge Marin granted the private respondents’ motion for the issuance of a writ of The right to security, on the other hand, is alleged only to the extent of the threats and harassments
preliminary mandatory injunction upon posting of a bond. The writ – authorizing the immediate implied from the presence of “armed men bare to the waist” and the alleged pointing and firing of
implementation of the MCTC decision – was actually issued by respondent Judge del Rosario after weapons. Notably, none of the supporting affidavits compellingly show that the threat to the rights
the private respondents had complied with the imposed condition. The petitioners moved to to life, liberty and security of the petitioners is imminent or is continuing.
reconsider the issuance of the writ; the private respondents, on the other hand, filed a motion for
demolition. These allegations obviously lack what the Rule on Writ of Habeas Data requires as a minimum,
thus rendering the petition fatally deficient. Specifically, we see no concrete allegations of
7. The respondent Judge subsequently denied the petitioners’ MR and to Defer Enforcement of unjustified or unlawful violation of the right to privacy related to the right to life, liberty or security.
Preliminary Mandatory Injunction. The petition likewise has not alleged, much less demonstrated, any need for information under the
control of police authorities other than those it has already set forth as integral annexes. The
8. Meanwhile, the petitioners opposed the motion for demolition. The respondent Judge necessity or justification for the issuance of the writ, based on the insufficiency of previous efforts
nevertheless issued via a Special Order a writ of demolition to be implemented fifteen (15) days made to secure information, has not also been shown. In sum, the prayer for the issuance of a writ
after the Sheriff’s written notice to the petitioners to voluntarily demolish their house/s to allow the of habeas data is nothing more than the “fishing expedition” that this Court – in the course of
private respondents to effectively take actual possession of the land. drafting the Rule on habeas data – had in mind in defining what the purpose of a writ of habeas data
is not. In these lights, the outright denial of the petition for the issuance of the writ of habeas data is
9. The petitioners thereafter filed a Petition for Review of the Permanent Mandatory Injunction and fully in order. PETITION DENIED.
Order of Demolition in CA.

10. Meanwhile, respondent Sheriff issued the Notice to Vacate and for Demolition. Hence, the
present petition for certiorari with writs of amparo and habeas data.

ISSUE: W/N petition for certiorari with writ of amparo and habeas data is proper

Tapuz vs Del Rosario GR No 182484 17 June 2008 land. Thus, if the petitioners wish to seek redress and hold the alleged perpetrators criminally
11 accountable, the remedy may lie more in the realm of ordinary criminal prosecution rather than on
Tuesday the use of the extraordinary remedy of the writ of amparo.
Oct 2016
Posted by Rachel Chan in Case Digests, Remedial Law Review 2 ≈ Leave a comment WRIT OF HABEAS DATA
Facts: This is a petition for certiorari against the issuance of the writ of amparo and habeas data
filed by Daniel Masangkay Tapuz, et al.(Petitioners), against the presiding judge (Respondent, “R Section 6 of the Rule on the Writ of Habeas Data requires the following material allegations of
“for short) who issued said writs (Judge Elmo Del Rosario, RTC of Kalibo, Br. 5). ultimate facts in a petition for the issuance of a writ of habeas data:

Private Respondents Sps. Sanson (Gregorio and Ma. Lourdes) filed with the MCTC of Aklan a (a) The personal circumstances of the petitioner and the respondent;(b) The manner the right to
complaint for forcible entry with damages with a prayer for the issuance of a writ of prelim privacy is violated or threatened and how it affects the right to life, liberty or security of the
mandatory injunction against petitioners. Said court, rendered judgment in favor of Private aggrieved party;
Respondents. Petitioners, appealed said judgment to RTC.
(c) The actions and recourses taken by the petitioner to secure the data or information;
The case was appealed with RTC Br. 6 of Kalibo. On appeal, Private Respondents filed a motion
for the issuance of the writ of preliminary mandatory injunction. After complying with all the (d) The location of the files, registers or databases, the government office, and the person in charge,
requirements for the issuance of said writ, Respondent issued the same. Petitioner moved to in possession or in control of the data or information, if known;
reconsider the issuance of said writ, while the Private Respondents, on the other hand, filed a
motion for demolition which petitioner also opposed. Respondent denied the opposition against the (e) The reliefs prayed for, which may include the updating, rectification, suppression or destruction
motion for demolition and the same issued a writ of demolition. of the database or information or files kept by the respondent.

Petitioners thereafter filed with the CA a petition for review of the Permanent Mandatory Injunction These allegations obviously lack what the Rule on Writ of Habeas Data requires as a minimum,
and the Order of Demolition. After that, Petitioners also filed herein petition for certiorari under thus rendering the petition fatally deficient. Specifically, we see no concrete allegations of
Rule 65 with prayers for the issuance of the writs of habeas data and amparo. unjustified or unlawful violation of the right to privacy related to the right to life, liberty or security.
The petition likewise has not alleged, much less demonstrated, any need for information under the
Petitioners to support the issuance of said writs alleged factual positions contrary and opposed to control of police authorities other than those it has already set forth as integral annexes. The
the MCTCs findings and legal reasons. (Note: Contrary to MCTCs findings, actually, said court necessity or justification for the issuance of the writ, based on the insufficiency of previous efforts
found the factual situation in the contrary to Petitioners’s contention. Petitioners contends that they made to secure information, has not also been shown. In sum, the prayer for the issuance of a writ
had prior possession of the subject real property; and Private Respondents intrude and took away of habeas data is nothing more than the fishing expedition that this Court – in the course of drafting
their possession of the same by force and violence). the Rule on habeas data – had in mind in defining what the purpose of a writ of habeas data is not.
In these lights, the outright denial of the petition for the issuance of the writ of habeas data is fully
Issue: Whether Petitioners have a basis for the issuance of the prayed writs to his favor? in order.

Decision: The petitions herein for the issuance of the writs of habeas data and amparo are fatally
defective both as to its substance and form.


Such writ, as held by the Court in this case: “ the writ of amparo was originally conceived as a
response to the extraordinary rise in the number of killings and enforced disappearances, and to the
perceived lack of available and effective remedies to address these extraordinary concerns. It is
intended to address violations of or threats to the rights to life, liberty or security, as an
extraordinary and independent remedy beyond those available under the prevailing Rules, or as a
remedy supplemental to these Rules. What it is not, is a writ to protect concerns that are purely
property or commercial. Neither is it a writ that we shall issue on amorphous and uncertain

The alleged acts of violence made by PR against P were disproved at the proceedings with the
MCTC – through a full-blown trial.

Rather than acts of terrorism that pose a continuing threat to the persons of the petitioners, the
violent incidents alleged appear to us to be purely property-related and focused on the disputed
MELISSA ROXAS v. MACAPAGAL-ARROYO (2010) 1) WON the doctrine of command responsibility is applicable in an amparo petition


PONENTE: Command responsibility as justification in impleading respondents is legally inaccurate

Perez, J. –
1. The use of the doctrine of command responsibility as justification in impleading the respondents in
her amparo petition, is legally inaccurate, if not incorrect. Such doctrine is a rule of substantive law
Supreme Court: that establishes liability and, by this account, cannot be a proper legal basis to implead a party-
Petition for the issuance of Writs of Amparo and Habeas Data 2. respondent in an amparo petition.

Court of Appeals:
Upon order of the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals summarily heard the Original Action for
Petition of Amparo. Thereafter, the Court of Appeals issued a judgment which is the subject of the Roxas enrolled in an exposure program to the Philippines with a group called
present Petition for Review on Certiorari. BAYAN-USA. She then joined a group called BAYAN-TARLAC in a health survey in
FACTS: La Paz, Tarlac. She had with her a passport, wallet and Php 15k in cash, journal,
Melissa Roxas, an American citizen of Filipino descent, while in the United States, enrolled in an
exposure program to the Philippines with the group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan-United States digicam with memory card, laptop, external hard disk, IPOD, wrist watch,
of America (BAYAN- USA) of which she is a member. On 19 May 2009, after doing survey work sphygnometer, stethoscope, and medicines (hereafter known as “STUFF”).
in Tarlac, Roxas and her companions rested in the house of Mr. Jesus Paolo in Sitio Bagong Sikat.
While Roxas and her companions were resting, 15 heavily armed men in civilian clothes forcibly
entered the house and dragged them inside a van. When they alighted from the van, she was May 19, 2009—After doing survey work, petitioner and companions decided to
informed that she is being detained for being a member of Communist Party of the Philippines- rest in the house of Jesus Paolo (hereafter, Mr. Paolo). At 1:30pm, they were
New People’s Army (CPP startled by people banging on the door, demanding for them to open up. 15
-NPA). She was then separated from her companions and was brought to a room, from where she
could hear sounds of gunfire, noise of planes taking off and landing, and some construction bustle.
armed men, with bonnets to conceal their faces (except the leader), tied them
She was interrogated and tortured for 5 straight days to convince her to abandon her communist up and blindfolded them. They were dragged into a van.
beliefs. She was
informed by a person named ―RC‖ that those who tortured her came from the ―Special From here on out remember, she’s blindfolded.
Operations Group‖ and that she was abducted because her name is included in the ―Order of
On 25 May 2009, Roxas was finally released and was given a cellular phone with a sim card. She When they got to the destination, she was informed that she had been detained
was sternly warned not to report the incident to the group Karapatan or something untoward will for being a member of Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army
happen to her and her family. After her release, Roxas continued to receive calls from RC thru the
cell phone given to her. Out of apprehension, she threw the phone and the sim card. Hence, on 01 (CCP-NPA). She was separated from her companions and kept in a room with
June 2009, Roxas filed a metal bars. From the sound of gunfire, planes taking off and construction bustle,
petition for the issuance of Writs of Amparo and Habeas Data she inferred she was in Fort Magsaysay.
before the Supreme Court, impleading the high-ranking officials of military and Philippine
National Police (PNP), on the belief that it was the government agents who were behind her
abduction and torture. She was subjected to 5 days straight of interrogation and torture to convince her
SC to abandon her communist beliefs and return to the fold. She had blindfolds on
issued the writs and referred the case to the CA for hearing, reception of evidence and appropriate even while she was sleeping and only got to take them off to take a bath and to
CA occasionally sneak a peek at her surroundings. She was able to learn the names
granted the privilege of writs of amparo and habeas data. However, the court a quo absolved the of her 3 interrogators during her stay—Dex, James and RC.
respondents because it was not convinced that the respondents were responsible for the abduction
and torture of Roxas. Aggrieved, Roxas filed an appeal with the SC.
ISSUES/HELD: May 25, 2009—Petitioner was released to her uncle’s house in QC. Her
abductors gave her a cellphone with a SIM card and an email address with a
password, biscuits, books, the handcuffs used on her, a blouse, and a pair of
shoes. She was told not to report what she went through to a group called a. PGMA is immune from suit as a sitting president
Karapatan or something untoward will happen to her and her family. She would b. There are no specific allegations against the officials impleaded
receive calls on the phone occasionally. For fear for her and her family’s safety, that they actually participated therein
she threw away the phone. 3. Public respondents were not remiss in their duty to ascertain the truth
behind the allegations of the petitioner
Start of the case a. Police action—when the police heard of the abduction at
4:30pm, they launched an initial investigation. They sent a Flash
Seeking sanctuary from all the threats, she filed with the SC a Petitioner for the Message to all the police stations around in an effort to locate
Writs of Amapro and Habeas Data against her interrogators and also impleading the van. The Special Investigation Task Group (Task Group
public officials, police officers, and military men of the highest rank (check out CAROJAN) was formed to conduct an in depth investigation.
the list of respondents) because she believed that it was the government that They contacted Karapatan and Alliance for Advancement of
was responsible for her abduction. People’s Rights to get help, but these never heeded. They still
have not found out the abductors identities, which they
She prayed: attribute to the lack of help from petitioner, her companions,
1. that respondents be enjoined from harming or even approaching her and the afformentioned groups.
family b. Military action—GIBO (Secretary of Defense) first heard of the
2. an order be issued to inspect the detention areas in Fort Magsaysay abduction when this case was filed. But upon receipt of the
3. that respondents be ordered to produce documents relating to any resolution from the Court, he issued a Memorandum Directive
reports about her case, including intelligence reports and operations to the AFP Chief of Staff to conduct an investigation. AFP Chief
reports of the Special Operations Group of the AFP of Staff sent a message to the Commanding General of the Army
4. that respondents expunge from the records any documents pertinent to Lt. Gen. Bangit to cause the investigation. Bangit then instructed
her name or any name which sounds the same Maj. Gen. Villanueva to set this in motion, who then tasked
5. that respondents be ordered to return her STUFF Office of the Provost Marshall (OPV) to conduct the
investigation. They described petitioner’s allegations as
SC issued the desired writs and referred the case to the CA for hearing and “opinionated” and cleared the military for any kind of
reception of evidence; SC also directed the respondents to file their answer. involvement.

OSG on behalf of respondents: CA’s decision:

1. petitioner’s alleged abduction was just “stage-managed” and a scheme  Gave great weight to petitioner’s version of the story
to put the government in bad light  Disregarded the “stage managed” argument of respondents because it
a. according to Mr. Paolo’s report: prior to her abduction, she was based on unfounded speculation that only Roxas and companions
instructed him and his two sons to avoid leaving the house. knew where they were
From this, they conclude that no one else could have known  Medical Certificate can only affirm that there was indeed an abduction;
where petitioner and companions were except the people it cannot be reflective of the actual injuries suffered
already in the house. If there was actually an abduction, she  There is an ongoing threat to the security of petitioner and family and so
herself consented to it extended the privilege of the writ of amparo and ordered respondents
b. the Medical Certificate showed abrasions in her wrists and knee to use extraordinary diligence to continue the investigations
caps. If she was indeed choked and boxed by her abductors, it  There is a transgression of the the petitioner’s right to information
would have showed privacy because according to photos and videos (supplied by party-list
2. even assuming that the abduction and torture were genuine reps Jovito Palparan and Pastor Alcover), there were “records of
investigation” concenrning petitioner’s involvement in the CPP-NPA—CA o Given that the identities of the men in the cartographic sketches
granted the privilege of the writ of habeas data, mandating respondents were not identified as belonging to the military or public
to refrain from distributing to the public any records relative to her officials, they cannot be held liable
alleged ties with the CPP-NPA or her abduction and torture. o Roxas is just a sojourner in the Philippines and not even a
 CA not convinced that the military or any of the public officials were citizen, so the Court can’t rely on her inference that she was
involved in the abduction and torture and also absolved PGMA because taken to Fort Magsaysay merely because the distance from Mr.
of immunity from suit Paolo’s house to where they were taken felt like the distance
between the house and Fort Magsaysay
Ratio  With regard prayer for the return of her belongings
 Petitioner invokes doctrine of command responsibility in impleading the o The order itself is a substantial relief that can only be granted
public respondents once the liability of the public respondents has been fixed in a
o Incorrect. Rubrico v. Arroyo: Command responsibility refers to full and exhaustive proceeding. Matters of liability are not
the responsibility of commanders for crimes committed by their discusses in amparo cases.
subordinate members or other persons subject to their control  Prayer for inspection of Fort Magsaysay
in international wars or domestic conflict o Since it was not proven that Fort Magsaysay was indeed the
o Since its application presupposes imputation of individual palce where abductees were taken, an order to inspect it would
liability, it is invoked in criminal cases, not amparo proceedings be tantamount to a “fishing expedition” for evidence
—see definition of writ of amapro in Sec. of National Defense v. o It is a rule in amapro that a place inspected must at least be
Manalo identified with clarity and precision and that allegations be
 However, they may be impleaded on the basis of responsibility or sufficient in themselves to make a prima facie case
accountability  HABEAS DATA
o Razon v. Tagitis: Responsibility—extent the actors have been o Conceptualized as a judicial remedy for enforcing a right to
established by substantial evidence to have participated in privacy, most especially the right to informational privacy of
whatever way in an enforced disappearance; the Court may craft individuals. It operates to protect a person’s right to control
the directive to file an appropriate civil or criminal proceeding information regarding himself, particularly, in the instances
against them. Accountability—measure of remedies that should where such information is being collected through unlawful
be addressed to those who exhibited involvement in the means in order to achieve unlawful ends
enforced disappearance without bringing the level of their o The indispesable element is a showing, at least substantially,
complicity to the level of responsibility or imputed with that a violation or threatened violation of the right to privacy in
knowledge relating to the disappearance or those who carry the lifem liberty or security has happened, which the petitioner has
burden of extraordinary diligence in the investigation of failed to do
enforced disappearances o There is no evidence that any of the public respondents have
 Totality of evidence does not prove that respondents were her violated or threatened a right to privacy of the petitioner. There
abductors or that she was detained in Fort Magsaysay wasn’t even evidence that they had access to the photos and
o Direct evidence of identity (cartographic sketched of abductors, videos
which Roxas was able to describe) is accorded more weight than o The grant of habeas data by the CA has no legal basis
mere circumstantial evidence in amapro proceedings (i.e. past  Extraordinary diligence was not exercised by the respodnents
abductions in Fort Magsaysay having similar circumstances as o The reports of Task Group CAROJAN contained background
hers) checks of the abductees but none about the abductors. They
also blame the failure of their investigation on the petitioner’s
lack of participation. They could have used many other means,
i.e. a cartographic sketch of the unmasked abductor could have
been obtained from the testimony of Mr. Paolo

 Deny prayer for return of belongings
 Deny prayer for inspection of detention areas in Fort Magsaysay
 Reverse grant of privilege of habeas data, without prejudice to changes
that might occur after the investigation is completed
 Modifying directive for further investiation:
o Appointing Commision on Human Rights (CHR) to be the lead
agency in the investigation
o Directing incumbent Chief of PNP or whoever succeeds him and
the chief of staff of the AFP to assist the CHR
o Directing PNP chief to furnish CA with copies of the investigation
o Directing CHR to furnish CA with copy of report and
recommendations within 90 days from receipt of this decision
 Referring the case back to the CA for monitoring, determination if the
abduction was indeed performed by public respondents, and to submit
the report to the SC within 10 days from the receipt of the report from
the CHR
 All other findings not contrary to the ones here, affirmed
failed to discharge, the burden of extraordinary diligence in the investigation of the enforced
RAZON VS TAGITIS disappearance. In all these cases, the issuance of the Writ of Amparo is justified by our primary
G.R. No. 182498 December 3, 2009 goal of addressing the disappearance, so that the life of the victim is preserved and his liberty and
security are restored.
We review in this petition for review on certiorari the decision dated March 7, 2008 of the Court of The established facts show that Tagitis, a consultant for the World Bank and the Senior Honorary
Appeals (CA) in C.A-G.R. AMPARO No. 00009. This CA decision confirmed the enforced Counselor for the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) Scholarship Programme, was last seen in Jolo,
disappearance of Engineer Morced N. Tagitis (Tagitis) and granted the Writ of Amparo at the Sulu. Together with Arsimin Kunnong (Kunnong), an IDB scholar, Tagitis arrived in Jolo by boat in
petition of his wife, Mary Jean B. Tagitis (respondent). The dispositive portion of the CA decision the early morning of October 31, 2007 from a seminar in Zamboanga City. They immediately
reads: checked-in at ASY Pension House. Tagitis asked Kunnong to buy him a boat ticket for his return
trip the following day to Zamboanga. When Kunnong returned from this errand, Tagitis was no
WHEREFORE, premises considered, petition is hereby GRANTED. The Court hereby FINDS that longer around. The receptionist related that Tagitis went out to buy food at around 12:30 in the
this is an "enforced disappearance" within the meaning of the United Nations instruments, as used afternoon and even left his room key with the desk. Kunnong looked for Tagitis and even sent a text
in the Amparo Rules. The privileges of the writ of amparo are hereby extended to Engr. Morced message to the latter’s Manila-based secretary who did not know of Tagitis’ whereabouts and
Tagitis. activities either; she advised Kunnong to simply wait.

Consequently: (1) respondent GEN. EDGARDO M. DOROMAL, Chief, Criminal Investigation On November 4, 2007, Kunnong and Muhammad Abdulnazeir N. Matli, a UP professor of Muslim
and Detention Group (CIDG) who should order COL. JOSE VOLPANE PANTE, CIDG-9 Chief, studies and Tagitis’ fellow student counselor at the IDB, reported Tagitis’ disappearance to the Jolo
Zamboanga City, to aid him; (2) respondent GEN. AVELINO I. RAZON, Chief, PNP, who should Police Station. On November 7, 2007, Kunnong executed a sworn affidavit attesting to what he
order his men, namely: (a) respondent GEN. JOEL GOLTIAO, Regional Director of ARMM PNP, knew of the circumstances surrounding Tagitis’ disappearance.
(b) COL. AHIRON AJIRIM, both head of TASK FORCE TAGITIS, and (c) respondent SR.
SUPERINTENDENT LEONARDO A. ESPINA, Chief, Police Anti-Crime and Emergency More than a month later (on December 28, 2007), Mary Jean Tagitis filed a Petition for the Writ of
Response, to aid him as their superior- are hereby DIRECTED to exert extraordinary diligence and Amparo (petition) with the CA through her Attorney-in-Fact, Atty. Felipe P. Arcilla.The petition
efforts, not only to protect the life, liberty and security of Engr. Morced Tagitis, but also to extend was directed against Lt. Gen. Alexander Yano, Commanding General, Philippine Army; Gen.
the privileges of the writ of amparo to Engr. Morced Tagitis and his family, and to submit a monthly Avelino I. Razon, Chief, Philippine National Police (PNP); Gen. Edgardo M. Doromal, Chief,
report of their actions to this Court, as a way of PERIODIC REVIEW to enable this Court to Criminal Investigation and Detention Group (CIDG); Sr. Supt. Leonardo A. Espina, Chief, Police
monitor the action of respondents. Anti-Crime and Emergency Response; Gen. Joel Goltiao, Regional Director, ARMM-PNP; and
Gen. Ruben Rafael, Chief, Anti-Terror Task Force Comet.
This amparo case is hereby DISMISSED as to respondent LT. GEN. ALEXANDER YANO,
Commanding General, Philippine Army, and as to respondent GEN. RUBEN RAFAEL, Chief Anti- Mary Jean said in her statement that she approached some of her co-employees with the Land Bank
Terror Task Force Comet, Zamboanga City, both being with the military, which is a separate and in Digos branch, Digos City, Davao del Sur who likewise sought help from some of their friends in
distinct organization from the police and the CIDG, in terms of operations, chain of command and the military who could help them find/locate the whereabouts of her husband. All of her efforts did
budget. not produce any positive results except the information from persons in the military who do not
want to be identified that Engr. Tagitis is in the hands of the uniformed men. According to reliable
This Decision reflects the nature of the Writ of Amparo – a protective remedy against violations or information she received, subject Engr. Tagitis is in the custody of police intelligence operatives,
threats of violation against the rights to life, liberty and security. It embodies, as a remedy, the specifically with the CIDG, PNP Zamboanga City, being held against his will in an earnest attempt
court’s directive to police agencies to undertake specified courses of action to address the of the police to involve and connect Engr. Tagitis with the different terrorist groups particularly the
disappearance of an individual, in this case, Engr. Morced N. Tagitis. It does not determine guilt nor Jemaah Islamiyah or JI.
pinpoint criminal culpability for the disappearance; rather, it determines responsibility, or at least
accountability, for the enforced disappearance for purposes of imposing the appropriate remedies to She then filed her complaint with the PNP Police Station in the ARMM in Cotobato and in Jolo,
address the disappearance. seeking their help to find her husband, but was told of an intriguing tale by the police that her
husband was not missing but was with another woman having good time somewhere, which is a
Responsibility refers to the extent the actors have been established by substantial evidence to have clear indication of the refusal of the PNP to help and provide police assistance in locating her
participated in whatever way, by action or omission, in an enforced disappearance, as a measure of missing husband.
the remedies this Court shall craft, among them, the directive to file the appropriate criminal and
civil cases against the responsible parties in the proper courts. Heeding an advise of one police officer, she went to the different police headquarters namely Police
Headquarters in Cotabato City, Davao City, Zamboanga City and eventually in the National
Accountability, on the other hand, refers to the measure of remedies that should be addressed to Headquarters in Camp Crame in Quezon City but her efforts produced no positive results. These
those who exhibited involvement in the enforced disappearance without bringing the level of their trips exhausted all of her resources which pressed her to ask for financial help from friends and
complicity to the level of responsibility defined above; or who are imputed with knowledge relating relatives.
to the enforced disappearance and who carry the burden of disclosure; or those who carry, but have
She has exhausted all administrative avenues and remedies but to no avail, and under the RULING:
circumstances, she has no other plain, speedy and adequate remedy to protect and get the release of
her husband, Engr. Morced Tagitis, from the illegal clutches of his captors, their intelligence The disappearance of Engr. Morced Tagitis is classified as an enforced disappearance, thus the
operatives and the like which are in total violation of the subject’s human and constitutional rights, privilege of the Writ of Amparo applies.
except the issuance of a WRIT OF AMPARO.
Under the UN Declaration enforced disappearance as "the arrest, detention, abduction or any other
On the same day the petition was filed, the CA immediately issued the Writ of Amparo, set the case form of deprivation of liberty by agents of the State or by persons or groups of persons acting with
for hearing on January 7, 2008, and directed the petitioners to file their verified return within the authorization, support or acquiescence of the State, followed by a refusal to acknowledge the
seventy-two (72) hours from service of the writ. deprivation of liberty or by concealment of the fate or whereabouts of the disappeared person,
which place such a person outside the protection of the law." Under this definition, the elements
In their verified Return filed during the hearing of January 27, 2008, the petitioners denied any that constitute enforced disappearance are essentially fourfold:
involvement in or knowledge of Tagitis’ alleged abduction. They argued that the allegations of the
petition were incomplete and did not constitute a cause of action against them; were baseless, or at (a) arrest, detention, abduction or any form of deprivation of liberty;
best speculative; and were merely based on hearsay evidence. In addition, they all claimed that they (b) carried out by agents of the State or persons or groups of persons acting with the authorization,
exhausted all means, particularly taking pro-active measures to investigate, search and locate support or acquiescence of the State;
Tagitis and to apprehend the persons responsible for his disappearance. (c) followed by a refusal to acknowledge the detention, or a concealment of the fate of the
disappeared person;
THE CA RULING (d) placement of the disappeared person outside the protection of the law.
On March 7, 2008, the CA issued its decision confirming that the disappearance of Tagitis was an
"enforced disappearance" under the United Nations (UN) Declaration on the Protection of All There was no direct evidence indicating how the victim actually disappeared. The direct evidence at
Persons from Enforced Disappearances. The CA held that "raw reports" from an "asset" carried hand only shows that Tagitis went out of the ASY Pension House after depositing his room key
"great weight" in the intelligence world. It also labeled as "suspect" Col. Kasim’s subsequent and with the hotel desk and was never seen nor heard of again. The undisputed conclusion, however,
belated retraction of his statement that the military, the police, or the CIDG was involved in the from all concerned – the petitioner, Tagitis’ colleagues and even the police authorities – is that
abduction of Tagitis. Tagistis disappeared under mysterious circumstances and was never seen again.

The CA characterized as "too farfetched and unbelievable" and "a bedlam of speculation" police
theories painting the disappearance as "intentional" on the part of Tagitis. He had no previous A petition for the Writ of Amparo shall be signed and verified and shall allege, among others (in
brushes with the law or any record of overstepping the bounds of any trust regarding money terms of the portions the petitioners cite):
entrusted to him; no student of the IDB scholarship program ever came forward to complain that he (c) The right to life, liberty and security of the aggrieved party violated or threatened with violation
or she did not get his or her stipend. The CA also found no basis for the police theory that Tagitis by an unlawful act or omission of the respondent, and how such threat or violation is committed
was "trying to escape from the clutches of his second wife," on the basis of the respondent’s with the attendant circumstances detailed in supporting affidavits;
testimony that Tagitis was a Muslim who could have many wives under the Muslim faith, and that (d) The investigation conducted, if any, specifying the names, personal circumstances, and
there was "no issue" at all when the latter divorced his first wife in order to marry the second. addresses of the investigating authority or individuals, as well as the manner and conduct of the
Finally, the CA also ruled out kidnapping for ransom by the Abu Sayyaf or by the ARMM investigation, together with any report;(e) The actions and recourses taken by the petitioner to
paramilitary as the cause for Tagitis’ disappearance, since the respondent, the police and the determine the fate or whereabouts of the aggrieved party and the identity of the person responsible
military noted that there was no acknowledgement of Tagitis’ abduction or demand for payment of for the threat, act or omission.
ransom – the usual modus operandi of these terrorist groups.
Based on these considerations, the CA thus extended the privilege of the writ to Tagitis and his The framers of the Amparo Rule never intended Section 5(c) to be complete in every detail in
family, and directed the CIDG Chief, Col. Jose Volpane Pante, PNP Chief Avelino I. Razon, Task stating the threatened or actual violation of a victim’s rights. As in any other initiatory pleading, the
Force Tagitis heads Gen. Joel Goltiao and Col. Ahiron Ajirim, and PACER Chief Sr. Supt. pleader must of course state the ultimate facts constituting the cause of action, omitting the
Leonardo A. Espina to exert extraordinary diligence and efforts to protect the life, liberty and evidentiary details.76 In an Amparo petition, however, this requirement must be read in light of the
security of Tagitis, with the obligation to provide monthly reports of their actions to the CA. At the nature and purpose of the proceeding, which addresses a situation of uncertainty; the petitioner may
same time, the CA dismissed the petition against the then respondents from the military, Lt. Gen not be able to describe with certainty how the victim exactly disappeared, or who actually acted to
Alexander Yano and Gen. Ruben Rafael, based on the finding that it was PNP-CIDG, not the kidnap, abduct or arrest him or her, or where the victim is detained, because these information may
military, that was involved. purposely be hidden or covered up by those who caused the disappearance. In this type of situation,
to require the level of specificity, detail and precision that the petitioners apparently want to read
On March 31, 2008, the petitioners moved to reconsider the CA decision, but the CA denied the into the Amparo Rule is to make this Rule a token gesture of judicial concern for violations of the
motion in its Resolution of April 9, 2008. constitutional rights to life, liberty and security.

ISSUE: To read the Rules of Court requirement on pleadings while addressing the unique Amparo situation,
Whether or not the privilege of the Writ of Amparo should be extended to Engr. Morced Tagitis. the test in reading the petition should be to determine whether it contains the details available to the
petitioner under the circumstances, while presenting a cause of action showing a violation of the
victim’s rights to life, liberty and security through State or private party action. The petition should Amparo Rule initially considered providing an elemental definition of the concept of enforced
likewise be read in its totality, rather than in terms of its isolated component parts, to determine if disappearance:
the required elements – namely, of the disappearance, the State or private action, and the actual or
threatened violations of the rights to life, liberty or security – are present. Justice Puno stated that, “as the law now stands, extra-judicial killings and enforced disappearances
in this jurisdiction are not crimes penalized separately from the component criminal acts
The properly pleaded ultimate facts within the pleader’s knowledge about Tagitis’ disappearance, undertaken to carry out these killings and enforced disappearances and are now penalized under the
the participation by agents of the State in this disappearance, the failure of the State to release Revised Penal Code and special laws.”
Tagitis or to provide sufficient information about his whereabouts, as well as the actual violation of
his right to liberty. Thus, the petition cannot be faulted for any failure in its statement of a cause of Although the Court’s power is strictly procedural and as such does not diminish, increase or modify
action. substantive rights, the legal protection that the Court can provide can be very meaningful through
the procedures it sets in addressing extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances. The Court,
If a defect can at all be attributed to the petition, this defect is its lack of supporting affidavit, as through its procedural rules, can set the procedural standards and thereby directly compel the public
required by Section 5(c) of the Amparo Rule. Owing to the summary nature of the proceedings for authorities to act on actual or threatened violations of constitutional rights. To state the obvious,
the writ and to facilitate the resolution of the petition, the Amparo Rule incorporated the judicial intervention can make a difference – even if only procedurally – in a situation when the
requirement for supporting affidavits, with the annotation that these can be used as the affiant’s very same investigating public authorities may have had a hand in the threatened or actual
direct testimony. This requirement, however, should not be read as an absolute one that necessarily violations of constitutional rights.
leads to the dismissal of the petition if not strictly followed. Where, as in this case, the petitioner
has substantially complied with the requirement by submitting a verified petition sufficiently The burden for the public authorities to discharge in these situations, under the Rule on the Writ of
detailing the facts relied upon, the strict need for the sworn statement that an affidavit represents is Amparo, is twofold. The first is to ensure that all efforts at disclosure and investigation are
essentially fulfilled. We note that the failure to attach the required affidavits was fully cured when undertaken under pain of indirect contempt from this Court when governmental efforts are less than
the respondent and her witness (Mrs. Talbin) personally testified in the CA hearings held on what the individual situations require. The second is to address the disappearance, so that the life of
January 7 and 17 and February 18, 2008 to swear to and flesh out the allegations of the petition. the victim is preserved and his or her liberty and security restored. In these senses, our orders and
Thus, even on this point, the petition cannot be faulted. directives relative to the writ are continuing efforts that are not truly terminated until the
extrajudicial killing or enforced disappearance is fully addressed by the complete determination of
The phenomenon of enforced disappearance arising from State action first attracted notice in Adolf the fate and the whereabouts of the victim, by the production of the disappeared person and the
Hitler’s Nact und Nebel Erlass or Night and Fog Decree of December 7, 1941. The Third Reich’s restoration of his or her liberty and security, and, in the proper case, by the commencement of
Night and Fog Program, a State policy, was directed at persons in occupied territories "endangering criminal action against the guilty parties.
German security"; they were transported secretly to Germany where they disappeared without a
trace. In order to maximize the desired intimidating effect, the policy prohibited government During the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance
officials from providing information about the fate of these targeted persons. (in Paris, France on February 6, 2007, "enforced disappearance" is considered to be the arrest,
detention, abduction or any other form of deprivation of liberty by agents of the State or by persons
In the Philippines, enforced disappearances generally fall within the first two categories, and 855 or groups of persons acting with the authorization, support or acquiescence of the State, followed
cases were recorded during the period of martial law from 1972 until 1986. Of this number, 595 by a refusal to acknowledge the deprivation of liberty or by concealment of the fate or whereabouts
remained missing, 132 surfaced alive and 127 were found dead. During former President Corazon of the disappeared person, which place such a person outside the protection of the law.
C. Aquino’s term, 820 people were reported to have disappeared and of these, 612 cases were
documented. Of this number, 407 remain missing, 108 surfaced alive and 97 were found dead. The In the recent case of Pharmaceutical and Health Care Association of the Philippines v. Duque III,
number of enforced disappearances dropped during former President Fidel V. Ramos’ term when we held that:
only 87 cases were reported, while the three-year term of former President Joseph E. Estrada Under the 1987 Constitution, international law can become part of the sphere of domestic law
yielded 58 reported cases. KARAPATAN, a local non-governmental organization, reports that as of either by transformation or incorporation. The transformation method requires that an international
March 31, 2008, the records show that there were a total of 193 victims of enforced disappearance law be transformed into a domestic law through a constitutional mechanism such as local
under incumbent President Gloria M. Arroyo’s administration. The Commission on Human Rights’ legislation. The incorporation method applies when, by mere constitutional declaration,
records show a total of 636 verified cases of enforced disappearances from 1985 to 1993. Of this international law is deemed to have the force of domestic law.
number, 406 remained missing, 92 surfaced alive, 62 were found dead, and 76 still have
undetermined status.Currently, the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary The right to security of person in this third sense is a corollary of the policy that the State
Disappearance reports 619 outstanding cases of enforced or involuntary disappearances covering "guarantees full respect for human rights" under Article II, Section 11 of the 1987 Constitution. As
the period December 1, 2007 to November 30, 2008. the government is the chief guarantor of order and security, the Constitutional guarantee of the
rights to life, liberty and security of person is rendered ineffective if government does not afford
Under Philippine Law protection to these rights especially when they are under threat.
The Amparo Rule expressly provides that the "writ shall cover extralegal killings and enforced
disappearances or threats thereof."We note that although the writ specifically covers "enforced Protection includes conducting effective investigations, organization of the government apparatus
disappearances," this concept is neither defined nor penalized in this jurisdiction. The records of the to extend protection to victims of extralegal killings or enforced disappearances (or threats thereof)
Supreme Court Committee on the Revision of Rules (Committee) reveal that the drafters of the
and/or their families, and bringing offenders to the bar of justice. The duty to investigate must be unfounded government denials and haphazard handling. The disappearance as well effectively
undertaken in a serious manner and not as a mere formality preordained to be ineffective. placed Tagitis outside the protection of the law – a situation that will subsist unless this Court acts.

Evidentiary Difficulties Posed by the Unique Nature of an Enforced Disappearance Given their mandates, the PNP and PNP-CIDG officials and members were the ones who were
The unique evidentiary difficulties presented by enforced disappearance cases; these difficulties remiss in their duties when the government completely failed to exercise the extral.'
form part of the setting that the implementation of the Amparo Rule shall encounter. These
difficulties largely arise because the State itself – the party whose involvement is alleged –
investigates enforced disappearances. Past experiences in other jurisdictions show that the To fully enforce the Amparo remedy, we refer this case back to the CA for appropriate proceedings
evidentiary difficulties are generally threefold. directed at the monitoring of the PNP and the PNP-CIDG investigations and actions, and the
validation of their results through hearings the CA may deem appropriate to conduct.
First, there may be a deliberate concealment of the identities of the direct perpetrators. In addition,
there are usually no witnesses to the crime; if there are, these witnesses are usually afraid to speak
out publicly or to testify on the disappearance out of fear for their own lives.

Second, deliberate concealment of pertinent evidence of the disappearance is a distinct possibility;

the central piece of evidence in an enforced disappearance

Third is the element of denial; in many cases, the State authorities deliberately deny that the
enforced disappearance ever occurred. "Deniability" is central to the policy of enforced
disappearances, as the absence of any proven disappearance makes it easier to escape the
application of legal standards ensuring the victim’s human rights.

Substantial evidence is more than a mere scintilla. It means such relevant evidence as a reasonable
mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion.

The remedy of the writ of amparo provides rapid judicial relief as it partakes of a summary
proceeding that requires only substantial evidence to make the appropriate reliefs available to the
petitioner; it is not an action to determine criminal guilt requiring proof beyond reasonable doubt,
or liability for damages requiring preponderance of evidence, or administrative responsibility
requiring substantial evidence that will require full and exhaustive proceedings.

We note in this regard that the use of flexibility in the consideration of evidence is not at all novel
in the Philippine legal system. In child abuse cases, Section 28 of the Rule on Examination of a
Child Witness is expressly recognized as an exception to the hearsay rule. This Rule allows the
admission of the hearsay testimony of a child describing any act or attempted act of sexual abuse in
any criminal or non-criminal proceeding, subject to certain prerequisites and the right of cross-
examination by the adverse party.


Based on these considerations, we conclude that Col. Kasim’s disclosure, made in an unguarded
moment, unequivocally point to some government complicity in the disappearance. The consistent
but unfounded denials and the haphazard investigations cannot but point to this conclusion. For
why would the government and its officials engage in their chorus of concealment if the intent had
not been to deny what they already knew of the disappearance? Would not an in-depth and
thorough investigation that at least credibly determined the fate of Tagitis be a feather in the
government’s cap under the circumstances of the disappearance? From this perspective, the
evidence and developments, particularly the Kasim evidence, already establish a concrete case of
enforced disappearance that the Amparo Rule covers. From the prism of the UN Declaration,
heretofore cited and quoted, evidence at hand and the developments in this case confirm the fact of
the enforced disappearance and government complicity, under a background of consistent and